Daily Video

April 1, 2019

How a cashless society affects young people and low-income earners



Directions: Read the summary, watch the videos and answer the discussion questions below. You may want to turn on the “CC” (closed-captions) function and read along with the transcript here.


Summary: This story looks at how the absence of hard currency (bills and coins), combined with constant digital advertising, affects young people’s relationship with money. Only one in three purchases are made with cash, and young people are constantly bombarded with digital advertisements and in-game purchases through their phones and video games.


Discussion questions:


1) Essential question: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a cashless culture?


2) Beth Kobliner mentions a study that people are more likely to feel that they got a good deal if they purchased something on their phones. How do phones and mobile money impact the perceived value of money? How does mobile purchasing benefit businesses? What compromises are made for the convenience of mobile money?


3) What impact does peer pressure and social media have on your shopping habits and relationship with money?


4) In-app purchases are creating a cashless culture. Facebook says people under the age of 18 made $34 million in in-app purchases this year. How important are in-app purchases to the retail experience? What are the disadvantages of in-app purchases, specifically to youth?


5) When is the last time you used cash? How have your own spending habits changed with the advent of a more cashless culture? Does you attitude about money and its value change when you are shopping online? How so?


Extension activity


Media Literacy: A key argument in the cashless culture debate involves its effects on low-income earners. Read this article by Vox about Philadelphia banning cashless stores. The decision was an attempt to counter the cashless culture movement which critics say excludes low-income buyers who do not have credit lines or the money to buy phones.


1. What impact will mobile money have on the purchasing power of low-income shoppers?


2. Do you think more cities should follow Philadelphia’s example and ban cashless stores? Why or why not?



For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here.

Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


  • Tags:

  • Related Stories

    Tooltip of related stories

    More Videos

    Tooltip of more video block

    Submit Your Student Voice

    NewsHour Extra will not use contact information for any purpose other than our own records. We do not share information with any other organization.

    More Videos